Counseling and Educational Psychology

Ph.D. in Learning and Developmental Sciences-Specialization in Learning Science

Students in our Learning Sciences Ph.D. program come from a variety of academic and professional backgrounds, from math and science to psychology and computer science. What unites them is a desire to understand the connection between how people learn and the environments in which they learn, and to make those environments more effective.

We believe that Learning Sciences problems are solved through interdisciplinary collaboration. You’ll collaborate with researchers in related fields, such as cognitive science. As a candidate, you will establish and defend your personal research agenda. Learn to apply relevant social scientific theory, psychological theory, and educational design theory to your research. Additionally, you will be involved in preparing research grant proposals tailored to the needs and interests of major foundations and government agencies that support advances in Learning Sciences.

Degree Requirements

Major Requirements (36 cr.)

Required Courses (6 cr.)
All doctoral students are required to take the following courses:
  • P544 Applied Cognition and Learning Strategies (3 cr.)
  • P572 Introduction to the Learning Sciences or P640 Thinking and Learning in Social Contexts (or equivalent) (3 cr.)
Other Learning Sciences courses (12–15 cr.)
Courses should include a minimum of six credit hours of coursework on theory and three credit hours of coursework on design. These courses, plus the inquiry linkage course, must include a minimum of six credit hours at the 600-level.
  • P507 Assessment in Schools (3 cr.)
  • P540 Learning and Cognition in Education (3 cr.)
  • P545 Educational Motivation (3 cr.)
  • P571 Proseminar in Learning Science (1 cr.)
  • P574 Topical Seminar in Learning Science (3 cr.)
  • P631 Theorizing Learning in Context (3 cr.)
  • P632 Designing for Learning Context (3 cr.)
  • P633 Capturing Learning in Context (3 cr.)
  • P650 Topical Seminar in Educational Psychology (3 cr.)
  • P674 Advanced Topical Seminar in Learning Sciences (1-3 cr.)
  • P690 Independent Study in Educational Psychology (1-3 cr.)
Early Inquiry Experience (12-15 cr)
Apprenticeship may be taken for 1-3 credit hours each semester. In this context, the student must carry out an independent research project as the early inquiry experience. The resulting research report must be read and approved by the advisory committee.
  • P573 Learning Sciences Apprenticeship (12–15 cr.)
Inquiry Linkage (3 cr.)
  • P633 Capturing Learning in Context (3 cr.)

Inquiry Requirements (15 cr.)

  • Y521 Methodological Approaches to Educational Inquiry (3 cr.)
  • Select courses from the approved Inquiry Course list (12 cr.)

A list of approved inquiry courses may be found at

Minor Requirements (12 cr.)

The minor must have integrity in its own right and must complement the major. The minor field must demonstrate wholeness within itself and contribute to the student's overall doctoral program. Minors are normally formulated within a single program area. However, an interdisciplinary or individualized minor is also possible. Interdisciplinary or individualized minors require a written description of the minor's underlying theme along with a rationale for each course's contribution to that theme through the Minor Justification form. This form should be submitted and approved by the Graduate Studies Office before enrolling in the minor courses.  Major area courses may not be used in the minor.

Elective Requirements (12 cr.)

Electives may be taken in fields inside or outside the School of Education.  Students may take electives in any area of interest to complement their program of study.

Early Inquiry Experience

To satisfy the program requirements, the student must carry out an independent research project as an early inquiry experience. The resulting research report must be read and approved by the major members of the program of studies committee. This project must be completed before advancing to candidacy and is expected to be completed in the first three years. A master’s thesis can be considered but must meet the same approval process.

Dissertation Requirements (15 cr.)

  • P795 Dissertation Proposal Preparation (3 cr.)
  • P799 Doctoral Thesis in Educational Psychology (12 cr.)

Academic Bulletins

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Contact Us

Contact information for:

Additional program information can be found at the Office of Graduate Studies.